10 Tips For Brands To Reach Online Consumers
- Laura Kudia
- On 07/23/2012
For many fashion start-ups, traction is often the biggest challenge in the early stages of digital branding. To serve some advice for reaching consumers, Third Wave Fashion and sister group OS Fashion co-hosted an NYC meetup featuring a handful of the brightest marketing minds. Below are the top 10 tips for executing the best digital marketing strategy for your company.
1. Trim the (marketing) fat. Tracy Keim, VP of integrated marketing at Bonobos, cut customer acquisition costs and inefficient marketing channels in half, yet still increased the customer base. First, her team cut print and launched a referral program that was successful. Then, Tracy reevaluated Bonobos’ partnership and affiliate programs. “We wanted to take back the message and voice of the brand and sometimes with an affiliate program, you just don’t know where that can go,” Tracy said. “So, we hired someone in-house and changed our focus from affiliates into partnerships and built our relationships with key influencers and bloggers.”
2. Create compelling content. When Erica Cerulo, co-founder at Of a Kind, was creating the idea for their start-up, she strongly considered the context of the products. Of a Kind showcases limited-edition pieces and includes anecdotes on the inspiration or personal life behind each designer featured. “It was really about creating a connection and making consumers feel a sense of connection to the designers,” Erica said. “For us, we build out the story first, then sell the product. The idea is that everyone has a story to tell and so once we find a designer we’re really excited about, we know that finding a story won’t be a struggle.”
3. Maintain integrity. Nizzi Karai Renaud, VP of marketing and commerce at Refinery29, believes that commerce and journalistic integrity go hand-in-hand. “Moving aggressively into commerce is interesting for Refinery 29 because at the end of the day, trust is paramount,” Nizzi said. “We would never sell anything we aren’t trying, loving or obsessing over ourselves. People are really psyched about what we’re showing them and we hold that trust very dearly.” For Refinery29, moving into commerce is about completing that experience with the consumer. “When we think about what we want to sell, it’s really driven by the story,” Nizzi said.
4. Connect with your consumer. The challenge for Bonobos was to capture that elusive male customer online. “The way we engage is through our voice, and our connection is our humor,” Tracy said. “We don’t take our brand too seriously, and I think guys appreciate that.” Her team of writers puts themselves in the shoes of the consumer. For instance, during a brainstorm, they’ll think: if a guy was reading an email about tweed, what would he want to hear? “So we wrote, ‘legalize tweed’ in our newsletter subject line,” Tracy said. “It’s funny, so that’s why guys open our emails.”
5. Know your NPS (New Promoter Score). Find out from your customers how likely they are to recommend the brand, the product or the service to their friends and family. “That says it all and speaks about who the brand is for that consumer,” Nizzi said. “So as marketers, if you think about how likely people are to promote you, at the end of the day, that’s your worth. You want to make sure consumers are promoters as opposed to detractors. You are not the brand and your NPS analytics will quantify that.”
6. Remember the brand is in the mind of the consumer. “What you build is not just a product, but an experience,” Tracy said.
7. Keep people before profit. Bonobos truly believes in this mantra. In order to build a brand over the past few years, the key has been in its customer service reps. “Quality customer service and sticking to what you believe no matter what the cost is served us well in the long-term,” Tracy said.
8. Partner with the right people. “For us, it’s been about the social co-opp partnerships,” Nizzi said, which helped Refinery29 achieve one million email newsletter subscribers. “It’s been about finding like-minded companies and crafting a joint message around some sort of call to action.”
9. Get creative with PR. In the fashion space, getting the right sites and publications to endorse your brand is important for initial traction. To have a strong PR strategy, however, doesn’t require hiring an agency. Instead, make it easy for key brand ambassadors to help you (e.g.: give bloggers a landing page, shoot them copy). The idea is that you can do a lot on your own. Great PR doesn’t mean you need to hire someone at $7,000 a month and hope for a happy accident.
10. Be transparent. “For start-ups, part of great PR is about being transparent,” Nizzi said. “Fab does a great job with their blog showing behind-the-scenes of their brand. Putting those stories out there really resonates with consumers and especially journalists.”